Jerusalem, Apr 8, 2019 / 13:30 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that he will declare sovereignty over existing settlements in the West Bank if he is reelected prime minister. Parliamentary elections in Israel will take place on Tuesday, April 9.
This is the first time Netanyahu has publicly backed what many are calling formal annexation of the occupied West Bank. He has been the Israeli prime minister since 2009, and previously held the role from 1996 until 1999. He made the statement on the country’s Channel 12 TV, in response to a question about why he had not already annexed the settlements.
Netanyahu said that “We will go to the next phase to extend Israeli sovereignty" in the area, and that he would not differentiate between settlement blocs or isolated settlements.
"From my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have [a] responsibility, as the Israeli government. I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians," said Netanyahu.
A formal declaration of territorial sovereignty by the Israeli government would likely be seen as a major, if not insuperable obstacle to an eventual “two-state” solution in the ongoing Middle East peace process.